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Black-guards

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Those horse-boys and unmilitary folk, such as cooks with their pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils, which travel with an army, and greatly impede its march.

Gifford, in his edition of Ben Jonson, says: “In all great houses there were a number of dirty dependents, whose office it was to attend the wool-yards, sculleries, etc. Of these the most forlorn were selected to carry coals to the kitchen. They rode with the pots and pans, and were in derision called the black-guards.”

In the Lord Steward’s office a proclamation (May 7th, 1683) begins thus: “Whereas … a sort of vicious, idle, and masterless boyes and rogues, commonly called the Black-guard, with divers other lewd and loose fellows … do usually haunt and follow the court… Wee do hereby strictly chargeall those so called, … with all other loose, idle … men … who have intruded themselves into his Majesty’s court and stables … to depart upon pain of imprisonment.”

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Black Doll (A)
Black Douglas
Black Flag (A)
Black Flags
Black-foot
Blackfoot (The)
Black Friars
Black Friday
Black Game
Black Genevan (A)
Black-guards
Black Hole of Calcutta
Black Horse
Black Jack
Black Jack (A)
Black Joke
Black Leg
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Black Letter Day
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Black Looks

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